If you missed it, make sure you go read Gideon Part 1 first.
God is With You, Mighty Warrior
You see, during that staff meeting, my bosses at Cornerstone Academy saw in me something that I could not see in myself. They could see that I had it in me to the do the job and to do it well. Had they not believed in me, I would not have felt empowered to do what I had been called to do.
We are so hard on ourselves; we have such a hard time seeing past our ugliness, selfishness, and fear that we need someone to come along and tell us what we truly have under there; we need them to see who we really are and empower us to come out of hiding. We will not come out on our own.
God does not let Gideon stay in the winepress; He also knows that Gideon will not come out of hiding without His help. So He sends the angel of the Lord, who says these empowering words to him.
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)
Let’s step back for a moment and remember from yesterday to whom God is speaking. Gideon is an oppressed, impoverished man; he is so fearful for his well being that he decides that it is better to hide and thresh his wheat in a winepress than on the mountaintop. But God is also speaking to me and to you wherever we may be hiding. This is my absolute favorite verse in the entire Bible, because it is a continual reminder that God does not see us as we see ourselves. He comes in pursuit of us and declares who we truly are.
What God sees in us is not the sinful coward that is in hiding; what God sees in each of us is a mighty warrior. Did you hear that? A warrior–not just any warrior, but a mighty one!
But then these are the first words out of Gideon’s mouth.
“Pardon me, my Lord.” (6:13)
Those are usually my exact words too. Well, it may actually sound more like: “Whaaa?” “Excuse me?” When we hear God, we are full of excuses as well. Let me just highlight Gideon’s first two excuses.
Excuse #1: I have been cheated.
“But if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (6:13)
I think he was feeling cheated. Well, that’s what I feel when those “pardon me” words spew out of my mouth. When Gideon takes a look at what he has heard about God and what he is witnessing at the moment, there is a disconnect that he can’t quite seem to reconcile.
My version would sound more like this:
It just doesn’t make sense. I hear that you change lives and you use people to bring glory to you, but you have surely abandoned me and I have got too little to offer. You give others everything they need to make a difference in the world, but in me, I just don’t see it. I take one step forward and two steps back. Where are you Lord? I’ve got nothing. You certainly can’t use me.
But then the angel answers back:
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (6:14)
One thing is for sure: when HE is the one commanding us, really that is all we need. If He can command the world into existence, I think He can handle whatever He has in mind for us. As much as we may argue, the fact is, we have not been cheated. The Lord has his power available to all who are His.
Excuse #2: I am a nobody.
Gideon is still not convinced that God has the right person for the job.
“My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (6:15)
This excuse is my personal favorite. I am the youngest of four siblings and all of my cousins, and as such I feel I have a right declare myself as the least of my family. My brother was eight years older than me, and my twin sisters are four. As the baby of the family, I was pretty much left to follow everyone around. I had no voice, or if I did, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t taken seriously. So you can imagine what a stretch it is for me to believe that anything I say is worth listening to (even still, at age 46).
Is there anything in your past that makes you think that you are a nobody, that you have no voice, no power, no strength? Your time is up, sister: you are a somebody in Christ. He is calling you a Mighty Warrior.
“I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (6:16)
Go forth. He is sending you, and He is with you. Go with full confidence, even when it looks like there is no way you will succeed.
Go paint that portrait, raise that difficult child, write that proposal, or make that call. Go bake that meal for your neighbor, write that encouraging note, that article, that book. Go on that mission trip, adopt that baby. Give that money, support that missionary. Whatever God is calling you to do, go, do it. He is sending you. You are a mighty warrior. He will be with you.